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Old 10-14-2010   #21
Cliff
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Default Answers to Bob- Sorry to chime in a little late...

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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Wilf asks a fair question. Or why not get a production line up and running producing a modern version of the A-6 Skyraider for ourselves and the many small, poor countries that have requirements? (sure they want F-16s, but really?)
I assume you mean the A-1 or AD-1 Skyraider of Vietnam Sandy fame.

The reason why is because we have a production line for the AT-6 and Super Tucano, both of which can do the same job. There are some advantages to having a turboprop vice a prop.

The USAF is currently working procurement of the Light Attack And Reconnaissance aircraft- there's a briefing on it scheduled for 27 Oct at 1230 at CGSC for those who are in the neighborhood.

LAAR will give the USAF a COIN optimized light attack capability that our 6 SOS folks can use to build partner capacity as you suggest.

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For the top end aircraft critical issues are threat, deterrence and asymmetric counters.

1. What is the threat? (combination of capability, inclination, likelihood, risk, etc)
The air threat in the current NSS is the same as the ground and sea threats- we need to be able to do full spectrum from peacetime engagement to COIN to the high end.

The high end threat is the Su-30MKK, F-11, and F-10- soon to be PAK-FA. The other issue is advanced EA. See the report on China's military power:

http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs...eport_2009.pdf

Last year's report, but the picture is pretty grim. This threat is real, and the other problem is their numbers vs ours.

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2. Do current platforms effectively deter that threat?
Yes, but we only have 189 F-22s and the last is being built- China is building more of everything mentioned above. F-22s only have 8 missiles - eventually numbers matter. OBTW not all 189 Raptors are available for use...

The only reason we can deter a threat like China right now is our training- and eventually even that will be eclipsed by numbers - even if we match our Korean War 10-1 kill ratio, that still means we could lose everything pretty quickly...

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3. Are there relatively simple, inexpensive counters to these new platforms that can be quickly rolled out by opponents putting us right back at the same deterrence balance we are at currently?
I wish. We're pretty much at the level of picking the low-hanging fruit by improving radars and EW systems. We need a new missile, but that's in the works too. Unfortunately there's no easy answers in air to air.

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4. What are the missions that drive this. Are there changes of policy that would cause some of those missions to (rightfully) either fall off the books or take a much reduced priority.
The missions are Air Superiority, DEAD, INT, Strategic Attack- but you need Air Superiority first to enable the rest- so unless you feel like conceding our great-power status, we can't really drop the mission.

Strategically we can drop supporting Taiwan, but that doesn't help - we still need to be able to deter China. I think that conflict with them over Taiwan is highly unlikely. However, we can't predict what would happen if a serious disruption took place in China's economy, or if the social contract (Chinese Communist Party rule in exchange for economic prosperity and keeping the PLA happy) broke down.

If we can't deter China, a lot of folks (especially Korea, Japan, and Australia) would need to either accommodate China, develop their own militaries, or quickly develop nukes...

I submit that our ability to project power is a big part of why we haven't seen a great power war since WWII... if we lose that ability (which is highly dependent on air and sea superiority) we are in trouble.

In other words, the small wars may not stay small.

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I don't have the answers to any of these. I did participate in the High-End Asymmetric Threat section of the last QDR though, so I do have some insights. Sometimes we use our desire for numbers or types of platforms or organizational units to drive retention or adoption of missions, that in turn then drive policy decisions. My one recommendation is that we need to turn that around to the extent possible.

Services and the corporations who produce these platforms are biased advocates; which is fine, so long as we've designed the process to contain those biases into limits set by our national policies and military missions. Currently (and I suspect historically) they opposite is true. BL, neither General Dynamics nor General Officers should pick our wars for us.
Completely agree. We don't have the cash to buy what we would really like to have, so we have to make do with what we have now.

I think you will end up seeing the USAF follow the Navy and buy some F-16 block 60s as a stop gap- just like the USN's recent Super Hornet buy. Everyone has to hedge because F-35 is going to slip, and at this point it is too big to fail.

I'd be curious to hear more about your QDR insights...

V/R,

Cliff
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Old 10-14-2010   #22
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Default BFM is not dead...

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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
Aircraft maneuverability is largely irrelevant for today's fighters because the most advanced air-air missiles can already be launched to hit a target behind the launching platform. They simply turn on the first few hundred meters by 180 and lock on after launch - guess why the Russians installed rear radars in their last fighter series. The F-35 has the DAS for the same purpose (and other purposes).

I suspect that active defences (jamming or shooting down incoming missiles, known from ships and now also from tanks and transport aircraft - bound to happen in fighters) will become relevant in the near future.
This will add even more per unit cost and require additional installation volume and surface.
Fuchs, I strongly disagree...

The death of Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM) is often greatly exaggerated...

No missile is perfect. OBTW the jammers you refer to exist... see my last post for details on what the threat has. These can affect missiles...

Until missiles become hittiles and have 100% Pk (never going to happen in my opinion) there is always the possibility of having to close with the enemy, maneuver to a position of advantage, and kill him with WVR weapons - BFM.

OBTW, to use your BVR missiles you have to be able to ID the threat- again this is not a perfect science, and if it fails you may have to visually ID (VID) the threat. Getting a VID requires the same maneuverability mentioned above.

At some point we may get to where a computer can match the human system in terms of air-to-air situational awareness... but we're not there yet.

We learned this lesson in Vietnam, hopefully we don't need to re-learn it anytime soon.

V/R,

Cliff
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Old 10-14-2010   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
Until missiles become hittiles and have 100% Pk (never going to happen in my opinion) there is always the possibility of having to close with the enemy, maneuver to a position of advantage, and kill him with WVR weapons - BFM.
Missiles ARE the primary WVR weapon/munition. Autocannons have a very small role nowadays.

You don't need to manoeuvre into a position of advantage if you can shoot a missile in every direction, even while turning.
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Old 10-14-2010   #24
Cliff
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Default Guns are still important

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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
Missiles ARE the primary WVR weapon/munition. Autocannons have a very small role nowadays.

You don't need to manoeuvre into a position of advantage if you can shoot a missile in every direction, even while turning.
Fuchs-

Agree that missiles have improved in maneuverability.

I disagree about the gun... the gun can't be jammed by enemy EW, decoyed by flares, or spoofed by an IR jammer... It is much more reliable than your average missile. And it's Pk is pretty decent. Not to mention it is very precise...

Finally, the gun is important for air to ground work, as you can be extremely precise on where your bullets are impacting. I'm sure there's a lot of folks here who are glad the F-15E, F-16, and F-18 have guns...

Even with missiles, you still have to put yourself in a position to employ. Missiles are not a magic death ray (though we may see lasers on fighters soon!), and still need to be put within a certain min/max range to have a chance of success.

In my 1700+ hours of flying fighters, I have found the gun to be a pretty useful thing to have- even if you do have an all-aspect missile. The gun is not minimized, at least not in the US military...

"A fighter without a gun is like an airplane without a wing." -Brig Gen Robin Olds

V/R,

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Old 10-15-2010   #25
Cole
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Default Thanks for your service. An opposing view.

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Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
The reason why is because we have a production line for the AT-6 and Super Tucano, both of which can do the same job. There are some advantages to having a turboprop vice a prop.

The USAF is currently working procurement of the Light Attack And Reconnaissance aircraft- there's a briefing on it scheduled for 27 Oct at 1230 at CGSC for those who are in the neighborhood.

LAAR will give the USAF a COIN optimized light attack capability that our 6 SOS folks can use to build partner capacity as you suggest.
Go beyond that and use the same aircraft that all airmen use in initial flight training as the light attack version. Then any airmen can be tasked to fly it just as any can be tasked to fly Reaper/Predator.

Believe light attack aircraft also can be used for homeland defense, counterdrug, and search and rescue. For instance, F-22 airmen in the Florida panhandle could augment scarce fighter flight hours flying light attack missions guarding offshore oil wells, looking for drug runners, and deploying to Afghanistan. Alaska F-22 drivers would augment their hours flying search and rescue and patrolling the pipeline. Langley F-22 drivers would watch for small planes and cargo ships with possible cruise missiles and nukes. If artillerymen are being forced to operate as infantry, it follows that F-22 airmen can contribute to the war in a light aircraft in between white scarf duties.

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The air threat in the current NSS is the same as the ground and sea threats- we need to be able to do full spectrum from peacetime engagement to COIN to the high end.
Hence having F-22 drivers flying light attack aircraft.

Quote:
The high end threat is the Su-30MKK, F-11, and F-10- soon to be PAK-FA. The other issue is advanced EA. See the report on China's military power:
Last year's report, but the picture is pretty grim. This threat is real, and the other problem is their numbers vs ours.
However few THREAT nations have large quality fighter inventories, those that do are deterred by nukes, and none have true 5th generation stealth aircraft that allies will have thousands of in a few years. The USAF and friends have priced air combat out of reach of most threat nations and the same level of training is still out of reach in Russia and China. Most of China's and Russia's aircraft are so old that their quantity has little quality of its own. Russian aircraft in Georgia were shot down by MANPAD and friendly fire so we could probably expect similar results in China, whereas allied IR and radar countermeasures and experience would be highly effective.

Agree that the F-35 with internal ordnance will be a highly effective CAS provider during week one and beyond and even better with external stores. The Russians lost several Su-25 in Georgia so S-300/S-400 threats would also hinder use of A-10C...but not F-35....which is coming out 20% cheaper than original government estimates for Lot 4. There is nothing wrong with F-35s that hasn't been wrong with all other aircraft types in their early years. The superior air-to-ground capabilities of F-35 make it preferable to more F-22s...even if restoring more parts for it assembly line was cost feasible.

As MG(Ret) Scales wrote recently, during WWII, being a bomber or submarine serviceman was as dangerous as being an infantrymen. That has not been the case for 65 years because excessive funding has gone to air and sea supremacy at the expense of the average G.I. Joe who still dies and get maimed in the thousands for every 10 Airmen and Sailors that perish or are legless. Only SEALS and JTACs experience remotely comparable risks.

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Yes, but we only have 189 F-22s and the last is being built- China is building more of everything mentioned above. F-22s only have 8 missiles - eventually numbers matter. OBTW not all 189 Raptors are available for use...
That's what F-35 and F/A-18E/F and EA-18G are for. Not every enemy aircraft needs to be shot down by an F-22. AWACS and satellites will know where the good stuff is originating. Ground and sea-based air defense systems will get their share as well.

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The only reason we can deter a threat like China right now is our training- and eventually even that will be eclipsed by numbers - even if we match our Korean War 10-1 kill ratio, that still means we could lose everything pretty quickly...
Our numbers of 5th generation stealth aircraft are climbing faster than their zero.

Even in the Korean war with war-experienced Russian pilots augmenting Chinese, a 10:1 ratio in nearly identical aircraft was the norm. The war experience of Chinese and Russian pilots today, not to mention DPRK or Iranian is essentially non-existent. An F-22 assisted by F/A-18E/F and EA-18G with experienced crews would have much higher ratios because they are much better aircraft and pilots, and will continue to be until plenty of even better allied F-35s and unmanned aircraft exist. Even WVR there would be little to lock onto and F/A-18 and F-35 helmet-mounted displays, F-35 DAS, and clean configuration would prevail when F-22 are arming/refueling. Why haven't we figured out how to do air-to-air rearming with missile pods into internal F-22 and F-35 bays!

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The missions are Air Superiority, DEAD, INT, Strategic Attack- but you need Air Superiority first to enable the rest- so unless you feel like conceding our great-power status, we can't really drop the mission.
Yet the USAF air superiority crowd always ignores the capabilities of Patriots and Naval air defense missiles, let alone the other fighters of other services and allies that won't have to fly from Guam.

Quote:
Strategically we can drop supporting Taiwan, but that doesn't help - we still need to be able to deter China. I think that conflict with them over Taiwan is highly unlikely. However, we can't predict what would happen if a serious disruption took place in China's economy, or if the social contract (Chinese Communist Party rule in exchange for economic prosperity and keeping the PLA happy) broke down.

If we can't deter China, a lot of folks (especially Korea, Japan, and Australia) would need to either accommodate China, develop their own militaries, or quickly develop nukes...
Just having lots of F-35s from all services, JASSM-ER fired from B-52, Tomahawk-launching subs, and an offensive missile fired from vertical launch cells, and figuring out how to fix the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile future problem would be sufficient to fix China. Increased dependence on selling to Walmart and the U.S. would fix the rest.

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I submit that our ability to project power is a big part of why we haven't seen a great power war since WWII... if we lose that ability (which is highly dependent on air and sea superiority) we are in trouble.

In other words, the small wars may not stay small.
Agreed except the area where ability to project power is suffering the most is ground power. The USAF has the most intertheater airlift in the world by a wide margin and yet the US Army wants new GCVs that will hinder ability to use airlfit to deploy or threaten to deploy credible, sustainable heavier armor until sealift arrives.

All the Russians had to do in Serbia was airland airborne forces to deter NATO. Putting a small HBCT combined arms battalion augmenting an airborne brigade on the east side of Taiwan would be sufficient to deter an amphibious assault in the preparation phase.

Strykers alone in the narrow passes of South Korea near the border would be decimated by North Korean infiltrators and stay behind forces with handheld RPGs and ATGMs. And the sealift distances to South Korea are so excessive that airlift and prepositioning are the sole rapid options. But heavy armor without fuel only is effective a few hours. Clearly, a DPRK strategy would be to destroy our fuel tankers with stay behind forces and artillery, and SOF.

I see that the Army is buying more Joint High Speed Vessels which would help in both the Pacific and Persian Gulf. Great unless you buy a fleet of 50+ ton GCVs and future variants of it for the heavy BCT that will quickly eat up a JHSV's 600 ston payload.

All just my opinion, as always.

Last edited by Cole; 10-15-2010 at 01:04 AM. Reason: Clarification and spelling
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Old 10-15-2010   #26
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I would be interested if somebody would comment on the range of each of the airplanes and how they would affect ops, especially in the Pacific. I have read that all the F-18 variants are short legged and also that one of the reasons the Japanese wanted the F-22 was they needed a long range airplane. What kind of range does the F-35A and C have?

I know that all sorts of games can be played with range figures, hi vs lo, load etc. But regardless of that, some planes will just go farther than others. And I know everything can be refueled in the air but some need it less than others.

I am interested in what you guys know and I ask because I haven't seen that mentioned yet.
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Old 10-16-2010   #27
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Default Ranges vs. Combat Radius

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Originally Posted by carl View Post
I would be interested if somebody would comment on the range of each of the airplanes and how they would affect ops, especially in the Pacific. I have read that all the F-18 variants are short legged and also that one of the reasons the Japanese wanted the F-22 was they needed a long range airplane. What kind of range does the F-35A and C have?

I am interested in what you guys know and I ask because I haven't seen that mentioned yet.
Carl-

I won't talk specifics to avoid getting classified, but I can point out the publicly advertised numbers:

The F-35 and F-16 have comparable combat radius:

F-35 vs F-16 Combat Radius Comparison

F-22 is very similar :

F-22 Combat Radius
(note this article says FB-22 would have a combat radius of 1800nm, about 3x F-22)

F-15E has a longer combat radius due to CFTs:

Eagle Combat Radius

F-18 is slightly shorter due to less gas, and being heavier to land on boats: F-18 Combat Radius

Combat radius is the best "range" number to compare - since it compares combat performance. Just "range" means just taking off and flying a given distance- but doesn't include any actual employment or fighting.

Basically, a given amount of gas will get you only so far. The specific energy of JP-8 is still the same- and the motors are not that much more efficient one way or another (only marginal effects). You would think more fuel = more range, but you know have to carry that fuel- potentially more parasite or form drag from external tanks or a larger aircraft, plus more induced drag from having to lift more weight. This is why the F-15C and F-15E have (fairly) comparable ranges and combat radii, since the F-15E has more drag even though it carries more fuel.

The F-22 (and to a lesser extent the F-15) have a slight advantage in that they can fly at higher altitudes than the other jets due to their design - in general jet engines get better fuel efficiency at higher altitudes.

The F-22 also has the ability to go supersonic without using afterburner (supercruise) which gives it a greater radius of action- the ability to accelerate quickly and travel at high speed without massively increasing fuel consumption means that it can get to where it needs to be quicker and cover a larger area than other fighters.

Hope this helps.

V/R,

Cliff
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Old 10-16-2010   #28
Cliff
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Default Some good points Cole...

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Originally Posted by Cole View Post
Go beyond that and use the same aircraft that all airmen use in initial flight training as the light attack version. Then any airmen can be tasked to fly it just as any can be tasked to fly Reaper/Predator.

Hence having F-22 drivers flying light attack aircraft.
There were rumors that this exact plan would happen, but for F-35 folks.... fly F-35 for the high end, have LAARs or AT-6s for COIN/FAC roles... This would require 2x the planes, and also 2x the maintenance... not exactly affordable in today's day and age.

The F-22 has a T-38 companion trainer program (CTP), but it is more like SAC's old CTP - to give them aircraft to chase guys upgrading and maintain proficiency... T-38 CTP.

Quote:
However few THREAT nations have large quality fighter inventories, those that do are deterred by nukes, and none have true 5th generation stealth aircraft that allies will have thousands of in a few years. The USAF and friends have priced air combat out of reach of most threat nations and the same level of training is still out of reach in Russia and China. Most of China's and Russia's aircraft are so old that their quantity has little quality of its own. Russian aircraft in Georgia were shot down by MANPAD and friendly fire so we could probably expect similar results in China, whereas allied IR and radar countermeasures and experience would be highly effective.
Unfortunately, the Russians and Indians plan on fielding PAK-FA by 2013.

See my previous post... the US is producing its 189th (actually 186th operational) F-22 right now. China, India, and Russia are all producing air-to-air fighters still... the US will be producing 0 in a few months. At some point, numbers start to matter. See the link to the DoD report in my previous post for words on the effectiveness of SAMs against our aircraft... unfortunately, the threats have some pretty effective SAMs.

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Agree that the F-35 with internal ordnance will be a highly effective CAS provider during week one and beyond and even better with external stores. .... The superior air-to-ground capabilities of F-35 make it preferable to more F-22s...even if restoring more parts for it assembly line was cost feasible.
Completely agree on the air-to-ground... the problem I am talking about is air-to-air and SEAD/DEAD... F-22 is much more effective than F-35 in the air-to-air role... F-35 only carries 1/2 the number of missiles... again it comes down to numbers.

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As MG(Ret) Scales wrote recently, during WWII, being a bomber or submarine serviceman was as dangerous as being an infantrymen. That has not been the case for 65 years because excessive funding has gone to air and sea supremacy at the expense of the average G.I. Joe who still dies and get maimed in the thousands for every 10 Airmen and Sailors that perish or are legless. Only SEALS and JTACs experience remotely comparable risks.
Let me start by saying that I totally agree that the folks on the ground are bearing the brunt of the current fight. I have nothing but respect for all of those who have placed themselves at risk around the world... they are all heroes.

The current fight is ground and COIN centric, which means that the folks on the ground are bearing this burden. I don't think you can blame this on lack of money... it's more the type of fight we're in. You could potentially blame the lack of spending on the RIGHT resources... MRAP for instance is twice as effective in preventing casualties than the M-1, and over 3x as effective as the HMMWV, see CRS report.

I agree that the ground forces need more emphasis to win the current fight... but you have to hedge your bets at some point. If we win the COIN fight in Afganistan but our allies in another theater are powerless against an agressor because we have lost our ability to deter near-peers... well, both would not be good outcomes, but which has more dramatic effects on our national security? In other words, it's all about balancing risk... both are important.

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That's what F-35 and F/A-18E/F and EA-18G are for. Not every enemy aircraft needs to be shot down by an F-22. AWACS and satellites will know where the good stuff is originating. Ground and sea-based air defense systems will get their share as well.
Agree... issue again comes down to numbers and effectiveness. F-35 = 1/2 F-22 missiles... F-18 is not as effective as F-22, and can't survive double digit SAMs. ISR/C2 and datalinks are key for sure.

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Our numbers of 5th generation stealth aircraft are climbing faster than their zero.

Even in the Korean war with war-experienced Russian pilots augmenting Chinese, a 10:1 ratio in nearly identical aircraft was the norm. The war experience of Chinese and Russian pilots today, not to mention DPRK or Iranian is essentially non-existent. An F-22 assisted by F/A-18E/F and EA-18G with experienced crews would have much higher ratios because they are much better aircraft and pilots, and will continue to be until plenty of even better allied F-35s and unmanned aircraft exist. Even WVR there would be little to lock onto and F/A-18 and F-35 helmet-mounted displays, F-35 DAS, and clean configuration would prevail when F-22 are arming/refueling. Why haven't we figured out how to do air-to-air rearming with missile pods into internal F-22 and F-35 bays!
Agree on the training piece... that was my point in my previous post, we are at technological parity (except F-22) and are relying on training to keep our edge. Unfortunately, numbers matter... still. An F/A-18 WVR against 4 Flankers is in trouble... Realize that the enemy has all-aspect missiles as well.

It's unfortunate that the USAF, USN, and USMC's successes in the air in the last few conflicts have made people think that we will always have an overmatch in the air.

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Yet the USAF air superiority crowd always ignores the capabilities of Patriots and Naval air defense missiles, let alone the other fighters of other services and allies that won't have to fly from Guam.
Cole this is just not true. We train with all of the folks you have mentioned on a routine basis. We are not ignoring their capabilities, not at all. Unfortunately, even Aegis and Patriot only have so many missiles... and their priority has to be TBMs. They help- especially Aegis... but it is not the end-all-be-all. Numbers still matter.

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Just having lots of F-35s from all services, JASSM-ER fired from B-52, Tomahawk-launching subs, and an offensive missile fired from vertical launch cells, and figuring out how to fix the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile future problem would be sufficient to fix China. Increased dependence on selling to Walmart and the U.S. would fix the rest.
All of these things help, but there are some other problems... numbers being one of the biggest... F-35 = 1/2 F-22 missiles, so at best it can cover 1/2 as much until SAMs are knocked back and they put on the external pylons.

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Agreed except the area where ability to project power is suffering the most is ground power. The USAF has the most intertheater airlift in the world by a wide margin and yet the US Army wants new GCVs that will hinder ability to use airlfit to deploy or threaten to deploy credible, sustainable heavier armor until sealift arrives.
Hmmm... I don't think it is in any one realm that power projection is suffering- they all are. We are dependent on sea and air LOCs for any power projection... and that is ALL services, the whole joint force. Without LOCs, no one can fight... so everyone needs to be concerned about Anti-Access threats.

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All the Russians had to do in Serbia was airland airborne forces to deter NATO. Putting a small HBCT combined arms battalion augmenting an airborne brigade on the east side of Taiwan would be sufficient to deter an amphibious assault in the preparation phase.
How is your HBCT going to get there when the C-17s are shot down by naval SAMs, and the MPF ships are sunk by diesel subs or anti-ship ballistic missiles? How will you sustain said HBCT? You will not be able to get there if the anti-access threat isn't solved. OBTW an HBCT on Taiwan would probably be seen as an act of war...

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Clearly, a DPRK strategy would be to destroy our fuel tankers with stay behind forces and artillery, and SOF.
Agree, see above.

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I see that the Army is buying more Joint High Speed Vessels which would help in both the Pacific and Persian Gulf. Great unless you buy a fleet of 50+ ton GCVs and future variants of it for the heavy BCT that will quickly eat up a JHSV's 600 ston payload.
All just my opinion, as always.
Agree- GCV needs to be air and sea transportable, which is why it was postponed if I understand right.

One last time- I am not arguing that air superiority is more important, that the Air Force needs a lot more money, or we have to buy F-22s. I am simply saying that we need to be honest and realize that we need LOCs to project power, and anti-access threats can cut those LOCs. We need to understand the risk we are accepting as a joint force, and figure out ways that minimize it within our current constrained forces (means). We are at best at a moderate risk level, and as the threat improves that risk goes up.

Good discussion, appreciate all your points and the good debate Cole!

V/R,

Cliff
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Old 10-16-2010   #29
Cole
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Default Good points but...

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Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
Carl-

I won't talk specifics to avoid getting classified, but I can point out the publicly advertised numbers:

The F-35 and F-16 have comparable combat radius:

F-35 vs F-16 Combat Radius Comparison

F-22 is very similar :

F-22 Combat Radius
(note this article says FB-22 would have a combat radius of 1800nm, about 3x F-22)

F-15E has a longer combat radius due to CFTs:

Eagle Combat Radius

F-18 is slightly shorter due to less gas, and being heavier to land on boats: F-18 Combat Radius

Combat radius is the best "range" number to compare - since it compares combat performance. Just "range" means just taking off and flying a given distance- but doesn't include any actual employment or fighting.
Well I sure won't go classified because have no such access...just like Air Power Australia Will couch my casually informed discussion in China terms as DPRK and Iran don't pose significant SAM or air-to-air threats. Russia has catching up to do on modern fighter numbers and lacks China's defense budget to catch up rapidly...and few would consider the Pak-FA a stealth aircraft or anything projected by the Chinese. India is a friend. Few threats would be able to buy large numbers of export Fak FA because their defense budgets are typically $10 billion or less annually.

Your own link shows an F-16 with external tanks and weapons has a combat radius of 630nm...and presumably will either dump the tanks repeatedly (and create a logistics problem) or live with the radar, reduced range, and performance penalty. Meanwhile, the F-35 to achieve 728nm will dump fewer tanks, then has a clean internal load profile, better turning performance, and more speed/acceleration...and can survive S300/S400 missiles and long range radar AAM. That seems to surpass the F-22 as there is no FB-22.

The F/A-18E/F will be closer to Taiwan than the F-22/F-35 that are taking off most likely from Guam since mainland Japan, Korea, and Okinawa will be too risky from a Chinese long range missile standpoint. The Naval sea-to-air threat won't last long and keeping F/A-18E/F over Taiwan just outside long range Chinese SAM range will easily handle older Chinese aircraft with AWACs vectoring F-22/F-35to the newer stuff. Would guess eventually the F-35 will have conformal fuel tanks to match F-15E and certainly would not want to try to bomb mainland China airfields or amphibious ships with an F-15E given the SAM threat.

Finally, one of these days, a KC-X tanker will be able to refuel all of the above to keep them on station and top off replacement KC-Xs before heading home. I still believe a C-17/C-130 could be modified to have a hydraulic arm extend out the rear of the open ramp and lift a missile pod under and into both the F-35/F-22...at a much cheaper price than new F-22s.

There is talk of F-35 carrying 6 AMRAAM internally and even with just four, you send two flights of four covering a wider CAP than a single flight of four F-22s. The two flights of F-35 would be close enough together that with AIM-120D capability they would be mutually reinforcing.

Its largely irrelevant anyway because in many cases, both F-22 and F-35 will be carrying just 2 AMRAAM and 8 Small Diameter Bomb 1 or 2. Surmise that you don't have to beat their numbers in the air if you bomb. JASSM-ER, and Tomahawk their runways.

Again, I love air and seapower, but suspect we have more than enough of both given our carrier and quality sub numbers and coming F-35 quantities. The counter-missile threat is more problematic (and the poor country's air force) than the counter-air threat...but that too is being addressed. Don't necessarily reject all EBO arguments in many potential conflicts. Certainly can't envision putting land forces on mainland China, and just bombing China rail lines and highways (see the recent problem with 10-day traffic jams?), ports, and establishing a fuel ship blockade in the Straits of Mallaca would be sufficient to end the war.

Good discussion.
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Old 10-16-2010   #30
Cole
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Default Some answered in previous response

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Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
There were rumors that this exact plan would happen, but for F-35 folks.... fly F-35 for the high end, have LAARs or AT-6s for COIN/FAC roles... This would require 2x the planes, and also 2x the maintenance... not exactly affordable in today's day and age.
It would mean fewer total pilots if F-22 aces flew both, augmenting their under 20 Raptor hours per month. Suspect they could more safely practice some air-to-air maneuvers/TTP in the LAAR as well. Just one squadron of 24 LAAR might be shared by three squadrons of F-22s. Maintainers for the 24 LAAR are essential regardless, so it is a sunk cost no matter who flies them.

Quote:
Unfortunately, the Russians and Indians plan on fielding PAK-FA by 2013.

See my previous post... the US is producing its 189th (actually 186th operational) F-22 right now. China, India, and Russia are all producing air-to-air fighters still... the US will be producing 0 in a few months. At some point, numbers start to matter. See the link to the DoD report in my previous post for words on the effectiveness of SAMs against our aircraft... unfortunately, the threats have some pretty effective SAMs.
We are producing F-35s that surpass anything China is producing and will beat PakFA in BVR. Suspect EODAS and AIM-9X coupled with helmet mounted displays would do just fine in WVR, as well. Why do you guys never mention that half the day is at night when WVR won't matter too much anyway.

I buy the argument that F-22 and F-35 will run out of missiles, but doubt the "quantity has a quality of its own" numbers will kill too many of our stealth aircraft as they are heading home to rearm. We and allies will get their numbers down rapidly enough to matter. You don't need to win the air war in a week when the longer blockade lasts for months.

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Completely agree on the air-to-ground... the problem I am talking about is air-to-air and SEAD/DEAD... F-22 is much more effective than F-35 in the air-to-air role... F-35 only carries 1/2 the number of missiles... again it comes down to numbers.
You mentioned the missile quantity disparity repeatedly. Suspect from informed forum comments that eventually F-35 will have 6 internal missiles. Its larger numbers of aircraft make up for half the missiles per aircraft and in many non-CAP mission both F-22 and F-35 will have just two AMRAAM.

Quote:
Let me start by saying that I totally agree that the folks on the ground are bearing the brunt of the current fight. I have nothing but respect for all of those who have placed themselves at risk around the world... they are all heroes.
Agree 1000% but sickened when things like FCS unmanned ground and air vehicles that could lead dismounted troops through IED fields/roads are not given the same emphasis as air/sea power. We fixed the HMMWV problem with MRAP/M-ATV but not the dismount problem.

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F-18 is not as effective as F-22, and can't survive double digit SAMs. ISR/C2 and datalinks are key for sure.
Suspect that with towed decoys and other countermeasures, helmet-mounted displays not on F-22, a fair amount of stealth, and EA-18G support flying more sorties than F-22 closer to Taiwan and thus outside S300/S400 range, and an eventual AIM-20D...it could hold its own against Chinese aircraft.


Quote:
It's unfortunate that the USAF, USN, and USMC's successes in the air in the last few conflicts have made people think that we will always have an overmatch in the air.
Since the advent of the F-15/F-16 have we or allies lost more than one fighter in air-to-air? Don't believe so, and F-22/F-35 stealth is a leap ahead beyond either with threats not currently being able to duplicate that stealth.

Quote:
Hmmm... I don't think it is in any one realm that power projection is suffering- they all are. We are dependent on sea and air LOCs for any power projection... and that is ALL services, the whole joint force. Without LOCs, no one can fight... so everyone needs to be concerned about Anti-Access threats.
The Navy has ample stationing in Hawaii and elsewhere adn plenty of back-up carriers. The USAF needs few C-17s and little time to move fighters to Guam/Hawaii/Alaska/Diego Garcia/North Australia/and South Korea/Japan after missile threat is gone.

South Korea has only Strykers able to rapidly reinforce it, and double hulls won't solve all their survivability problems and lack of firepower. Have more confidence in the ability of a C-17 to airland or JHSV to sealand in South Korea or on the east side of Taiwan with mountain-masking prior to their hard-to-miss border crossing or amphibious assault preparations then have confidence in EFVs, amphibious/maritme prepositionings ships, and airborne forces launching a forcible entry after the PLA already controls Taiwan.
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Old 10-17-2010   #31
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Will couch my casually informed discussion in China terms as DPRK and Iran don't pose significant SAM or air-to-air threats.

Your own link shows an F-16 with external tanks and weapons has a combat radius of 630nm...and presumably will either dump the tanks repeatedly (and create a logistics problem) or live with the radar, reduced range, and performance penalty. Meanwhile, the F-35 to achieve 728nm will dump fewer tanks, then has a clean internal load profile, better turning performance, and more speed/acceleration...and can survive S300/S400 missiles and long range radar AAM. That seems to surpass the F-22 as there is no FB-22.
F-22 combat radius, per the article, is approx 600ish nm. Which is pretty comparable to F-35... and all the rest of the fighters. The speed difference matters too.. the F-35 is not as fast as the F-22.

Quote:
The F/A-18E/F will be closer to Taiwan than the F-22/F-35 that are taking off most likely from Guam since mainland Japan, Korea, and Okinawa will be too risky from a Chinese long range missile standpoint. The Naval sea-to-air threat won't last long and keeping F/A-18E/F over Taiwan just outside long range Chinese SAM range will easily handle older Chinese aircraft with AWACs vectoring F-22/F-35to the newer stuff. Would guess eventually the F-35 will have conformal fuel tanks to match F-15E and certainly would not want to try to bomb mainland China airfields or amphibious ships with an F-15E given the SAM threat.
The F-18s will be closer... but again they have a short range (369nm legacy, 520 Super Hornet - and both of those are with 3 external tanks!). The better the Chinese Navy gets, and the more anti-ship ABMs become credible, the less help the carrier can be - because you end up spending more and more effort protecting the boat and less effort projecting power. CFTs on F-35 are unlikely as it would ruin the stealth.

Quote:
Finally, one of these days, a KC-X tanker will be able to refuel all of the above to keep them on station and top off replacement KC-Xs before heading home. I still believe a C-17/C-130 could be modified to have a hydraulic arm extend out the rear of the open ramp and lift a missile pod under and into both the F-35/F-22...at a much cheaper price than new F-22s.
This is not really feasible just yet... you would have to develop some way of towing the aircraft being re-armed or connecting some sort of platform to it. More likely to see some sort of directed energy weapon before you see this...

Quote:
There is talk of F-35 carrying 6 AMRAAM internally and even with just four, you send two flights of four covering a wider CAP than a single flight of four F-22s. The two flights of F-35 would be close enough together that with AIM-120D capability they would be mutually reinforcing. Its largely irrelevant anyway because in many cases, both F-22 and F-35 will be carrying just 2 AMRAAM and 8 Small Diameter Bomb 1 or 2. Surmise that you don't have to beat their numbers in the air if you bomb. JASSM-ER, and Tomahawk their runways.
My point is that F-35s are going to be doing a lot of other jobs... some will be A-A configured but most will need to carry other weapons, as you point out.

Quote:
Again, I love air and seapower, but suspect we have more than enough of both given our carrier and quality sub numbers and coming F-35 quantities. The counter-missile threat is more problematic (and the poor country's air force) than the counter-air threat...but that too is being addressed. Don't necessarily reject all EBO arguments in many potential conflicts. Certainly can't envision putting land forces on mainland China, and just bombing China rail lines and highways (see the recent problem with 10-day traffic jams?), ports, and establishing a fuel ship blockade in the Straits of Mallaca would be sufficient to end the war.
Agree on the effects. Not sure on the numbers... China is producing F-10s, F-11Bs, and FB-7s... Our first IOC F-35s are in 2012, with the first deployment in 2014... at best...

I think there is a window of risk over the next 5-7 years. I think you are overestimating our advantage, and underestimating the work other folks have done.

V/R,

Cliff
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Old 10-17-2010   #32
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It would mean fewer total pilots if F-22 aces flew both, augmenting their under 20 Raptor hours per month. Suspect they could more safely practice some air-to-air maneuvers/TTP in the LAAR as well. Just one squadron of 24 LAAR might be shared by three squadrons of F-22s. Maintainers for the 24 LAAR are essential regardless, so it is a sunk cost no matter who flies them.
The other issue, Cole, is training- F-22s focus on air-to-air, and they need to with the limited numbers. F-35s make more sense since they will be primarily A-G. That said, I would love to be in either an F-22 or F-35 squadron and have a squadron of LAARs to fly! The pooling idea could work, but again I think is not fiscally workable unless the economy improves a lot.

Quote:
We are producing F-35s that surpass anything China is producing and will beat PakFA in BVR. Suspect EODAS and AIM-9X coupled with helmet mounted displays would do just fine in WVR, as well. Why do you guys never mention that half the day is at night when WVR won't matter too much anyway.
NVGs allow day-style tactics at night... WVR still matters based on technology like EW that makes BVR missiles less effective, and numbers (lots of targets so you will have to use IR missiles and perhaps the gun). Just because it's night doesn't mean you will never go to the merge.

Quote:
I buy the argument that F-22 and F-35 will run out of missiles, but doubt the "quantity has a quality of its own" numbers will kill too many of our stealth aircraft as they are heading home to rearm. We and allies will get their numbers down rapidly enough to matter. You don't need to win the air war in a week when the longer blockade lasts for months.
A longer conflict would be tough for us as well... we are going to have very limited numbers of platforms. If I lose 10 F-22s that is 10% of the combat coded force... Our kill ratios will need to be in the 20 to 1 neighborhood to win.

See above for discussion on F-35 missile numbers.

Quote:
Agree 1000% but sickened when things like FCS unmanned ground and air vehicles that could lead dismounted troops through IED fields/roads are not given the same emphasis as air/sea power. We fixed the HMMWV problem with MRAP/M-ATV but not the dismount problem.
My understanding was that FCS was canceled to buy things like MRAP... I think if FCS had counter-IED tech that was extremely effective it would being the force right now... I don't think money has been as big an issue as you think, at least not in the Gates years. The impression I get from my Army peers is that they have gotten most of what they have asked for...

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Since the advent of the F-15/F-16 have we or allies lost more than one fighter in air-to-air? Don't believe so, and F-22/F-35 stealth is a leap ahead beyond either with threats not currently being able to duplicate that stealth.
Just one, the Navy F-18 in Desert Storm. Then again, we haven't fought anyone who could be termed a near-peer competitor numbers or tech wise. It's a little silly to me to argue that we should stop trying to keep our advantage in an area that helps us so much...


Quote:
The Navy has ample stationing in Hawaii and elsewhere adn plenty of back-up carriers. The USAF needs few C-17s and little time to move fighters to Guam/Hawaii/Alaska/Diego Garcia/North Australia/and South Korea/Japan after missile threat is gone.
The Navy doesn't have a lot of extra... see here.

Quote:
South Korea has only Strykers able to rapidly reinforce it, and double hulls won't solve all their survivability problems and lack of firepower. Have more confidence in the ability of a C-17 to airland or JHSV to sealand in South Korea or on the east side of Taiwan with mountain-masking prior to their hard-to-miss border crossing or amphibious assault preparations then have confidence in EFVs, amphibious/maritme prepositionings ships, and airborne forces launching a forcible entry after the PLA already controls Taiwan.
I agree about our ability to see the enemy moving, and that the ability to move by air helps, but again how many C-17s/5s do we have, and how many can we lose to SAMs/Naval SAMs?

Again, I'm not saying it's a crisis... just that we're accepting a lot of risk. The problem is deterrence... if folks think that they can beat us, then our ability to deter them is hurt. We are at about the minimum level now...

You are very right about the allies, but remember that there is not a formal NATO-style agreement among the nations in the Pacific... so the ability of an agressor to divide and conquer is there. China is not trying to win... yet. They are trying to get to a point where they can deter us or make it too costly for us to continue, forcing us to let them do whatever it is they set out to do. Finally, I am not saying lots of our folks in F-22s will be shot down.... I am saying they won't be able to kill all the threats before they can get to and kill folks on the ground or on ships.

I think everyone in the US military has forgotten the hard-learned lessons about air superiority from World War II... which was really the last time we faced a peer competitor Air Force. A lot of things we depend on (just in time supply, ISR, drones, sea and air LOCs) depend on having air superiority. Hopefully our accepting risk in this area isn't challenged in conflict.

Finally, one point that I sometimes make to folks- 5,767 US Military folks have been killed since 2001 in Iraq and Afghanistan - 9 years.

Al Qaeda killed 2,819 folks using 4 airliners in 102 minutes. Think about what someone could do with actual military aircraft...

I don't point this out to say that one is worse than the other, or to be flippant, only to show that the consequences of losing air superiority are pretty severe.

Thanks for the good points, hopefully I made some intelligent contributions.

V/R,

Cliff

Last edited by Cliff; 10-17-2010 at 01:22 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-17-2010   #33
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Default Thanks for the great discussion...some final personal views

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The F-18s will be closer... but again they have a short range (369nm legacy, 520 Super Hornet - and both of those are with 3 external tanks!). The better the Chinese Navy gets, and the more anti-ship ABMs become credible, the less help the carrier can be - because you end up spending more and more effort protecting the boat and less effort projecting power. CFTs on F-35 are unlikely as it would ruin the stealth.
Not sure legacy F-18C/D matter that much and believe ASBM can be defeated through a combination of multispectral smoke (littoral combat ship dispensing smoke in front of carriers?) and the same smoke over island bases in the Pacific on the outer edge of missile range.

http://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/1...-of-Obscurants

Wonder if the USAF should look at the F/A-18E/F (or F-35C) for rotating Pacific island-basing and stateside homeland security. Use smoke to defeat ASBM radar/IR sensors, and jammers to locally disrupt Chinese-GPS to eliminate pinpoint targeting. Then employ concrete shelters over catapult launch and recovery to provide passive countermeasures to survive missile attacks while staying within reasonable range and escorting/augmenting KC-X aerial refueling. Marcus Island? Wake Island? Midway Islands? As you mention, up to 29,000 lbs of fuel can be transported internally/externally in a Super Hornet in 5 tanks which when added to KC-X top-off would leave a near perpetual fuel supply and protection escort for KC-X. Add a mini-boom to the F/A-18E/F and have 3 refuelers on station at a track or anchor.


Quote:
Agree on the effects. Not sure on the numbers... China is producing F-10s, F-11Bs, and FB-7s... Our first IOC F-35s are in 2012, with the first deployment in 2014 at best...

I think there is a window of risk over the next 5-7 years. I think you are overestimating our advantage, and underestimating the work other folks have done.
Forgive my display of old-guy bias and I truly respect the mature/respectful arguments you are making. But a J-10, J-11B, and FB-7 are no more capable than an F-15/F-16/FA-18E/F and we already acknowledged how few of those have been lost in the past 30+ years...and the experience-level of the PLAAF or PLAN in the next 5-7 years is not likely to be considered near-peer.

While the 1970s-1980s military shared none of the austere repeated deployments and extraordinary ground risk of service today or in the Vietnam war, there was a far more extraordinary "window of risk" in the European theater with double digit thousands of Soviet tanks/BMPs more than capable of rolling over NATO. The related nuclear risk was far higher, as well. So when considering China, with much to lose economically and little to gain over the next 5-7 years by attacking Taiwan, it is hard for me to feel much concern.

And as much as we portrayed the Soviet air and ground threat as 10' tall back then, with the exception of numbers, they truly were not much threat (other than numbers far more in disparity than today's threats) to M1s, Bradleys, F-16, and F-15...but would have posed a serious threat to M60s, M113, and F-4s that were slowly being replaced. THAT was a window of vulnerability! Yet it was addressed with a 50,000 lb Bradley that also proved more than up to task in OIF before being uparmored at which point it remained only in the 60-70,000lbs range...so why does the GCV need to be 100,000-140,000 lbs? Why is it unacceptable for F-35s to take on Pak FA's that lack stealth? China will never own any because the Russians have gotten wise to their repeated attempts to backward engineer.

While respecting any Soldier's loss, find it hard to get very alarmed by the loss of 125 combined-arms rusty Israelis regulars and reservists against a determined Hezbollah foe that had years to dig in and prepare. Where was the smoke to defeat ATGMs/RPGs? CAS (was doing EBO)? Artillery prep? In most realistic future uses of U.S./allied heavy armor and airpower, we would be addressing a threat preparing to or in the process of invading someone else, therefore giving them little time to prepare a proper defense. In addition, the very act of invading would make it difficult to hide advancing armor in slow-go terrain, thus leaving them vulnerable to airpower and ATACMs, and Apaches.

Bradley/Stryker/LAV III survivability in OIF, current air-deployment of 25% of supplies to Afghanistan, the air movement of Strykers and M-ATV there, and the success of 60+ sorties in inserting armor/airborne forces into Bashur, Northern Iraq should be far more revealing to us than any lesson of Lebanon in 2006. Adding belly armor to a GCV should not exceed 80,000+ lbs to retain the key benefits of C-17/C-5M air-deployment of heavy-light mix air deployment facilitated by the current trend of placing HBCTs and IBCTs at many of the same division-home bases.
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Old 10-17-2010   #34
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To be honest, the MiG-29 with its helmet mounted sight and the super-agile AA-11 with its off boresight seeker created a Sputnik shock in 1990 when Eastern German NVA equipment was studied. The West had dropped these technologies in the 70's after tests and was on a very different path (ASRAAM).

The MiG-29 was inferior to F-18 and F-16 in simulated gunfights, but ceteris paribus they were superior in WVR missile fights. We were lucky to not lose many combat aircraft after Vietnam; no Western air force had to go to war against a near-peer during that time.

The same applies to Su-27s; they were clearly superior to F-15's in the 80's and their huge range without any drop tanks was a huge operational advantage.


The Russians only fell back again in the 90's when they weren't able to match avionics improvements and lacked funds for everything.



Everything that was produced in the 80's (= most NATO combat aircraft) is technically inferior to the best the Russians have to offer, probably even to the best the Chinese have to offer.

Western high end quality combat aircraft are limited to about a thousand aircraft, and even these about thousand aircraft have huge quality differences between batches (especially Eurofighter and F-22).
The most capable F-16s and many of the most capable F-15s were exported beyond NATO's members.
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Old 10-18-2010   #35
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Very interesting discussion.

Combat radius was what I actually meant to say when I asked my question but of course my brain didn't pull it up. Related to that, I have another question. Things get very very complicated when figuring radii. Is fuel fraction (clean) a more useful benchmark to use when figuring how far these airplanes can usefully go on missions? Is that data available for the F-35 versions and the F-22?

Another question I have regards the F-22 altitude capability. I have read that it can fight from way high up there. Can the other planes under discussion fight from that high up and is that altitude capability of very great of very small use?

One other thing I only learned about last year that may have some bearing. I don't think the vertical launch missile magazines of the carrier escorts can be replenished at sea. Once they're out, they have to drive back to the big base to get refilled. That would probably have significant bearing on planning I would imagine.

The only other thing I would say is if planning on fighting somebody you figure is almost at good as you, you had better plan on some surprises. If we were to, God forbid, get into a full on tussle with China, I think it would be prudent to expect to lose a number of carriers. Could we carry on if that happened?
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Old 10-18-2010   #36
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Question: Is it realistic to build a smaller F-22 to replace the F-16?
If you mean an F-35, it does that to an extent. But the F-22 and the F-16 have different roles although they narrow with AESA and block 60+. I'm not sure you can effectively replace the F-16 in the near or distant future for shear tonnage on target. Unless of course you change the mission and let the Navy have it all with F-18's.

Question: It it possible to replace Harriers with VTOL CAS UCAVs?
A real question is whether or not we can replace manned flight with unmanned. Is there a need for a VTOL UCAV? There are already several options available for recovering and launching unmanned vehicles.

Question: Should the production of the F-22 (possible FB-22 variants) end at 183 or continue to 381 air frames?
Based on recent developments with Russian aerospace (T-50) and their willingness to export (India) as a means to support development and domestic procurement it would seem inevitable that there could be advanced fighters based within internal fuel load of the continental United States (Venezuela) in decades to come. Of course, advanced assumes they're actually going to produce an airframe that is something more than reverse engineering. I always thought that 381 was a give away just to get the contracts signed anyway. If you're talking continental defense against an adversary on your doorstep 381 might seem a bit lacking since force projection will drain off assets for deployment elsewhere.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-18-2010 at 08:43 PM. Reason: Replace question text in red with bold
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Old 10-18-2010   #37
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Things get very very complicated when figuring radii. Is fuel fraction (clean) a more useful benchmark to use when figuring how far these airplanes can usefully go on missions?
Yes and no... the big issue is that the different aircraft have different mission profiles, so while the fuel fraction is important (Su-27 carries a lot of fuel for instance) it is not the end-all be-all...

As an example, your average modern airliner is very fuel efficient. This is because it flies at optimized (higher than legacy) altitudes and has very efficient high-bypass engines. Power changes are minimized and routings are as direct as possible... yielding better range.

If I'm flying a mission in combat, however, I have to maneuver in relation to the threats, so I can't necessarily fly a fuel optimized profile (although I will try in between times when I'm fighting!).

Combat radius is probably the best number to compare, as long as you look at the assumptions involved and check that they make sense. It usually takes into account the expected profile for a mission (hi-lo-hi etc).

Quote:
Another question I have regards the F-22 altitude capability. I have read that it can fight from way high up there. Can the other planes under discussion fight from that high up and is that altitude capability of very great of very small use?
In general, higher altitude gives you better fuel efficiency and a longer range on your weapons. There's a dated (but still relevant) interview with Lockeed test pilot Paul Metz here that discusses this. F-15Cs can get up to similar altitudes, but can't turn as well as the F-22 up there. F-16s and F-18s have a hard time getting into the upper 40s when combat configured. According to one expert, the altitude advantage means that the F-22 is twice as effective - see here.

Quote:
One other thing I only learned about last year that may have some bearing. I don't think the vertical launch missile magazines of the carrier escorts can be replenished at sea. Once they're out, they have to drive back to the big base to get refilled. That would probably have significant bearing on planning I would imagine.
Magazine space and reloading is definitely an issue for the Aegis ships. As I said, numbers matter at some point.

Quote:
The only other thing I would say is if planning on fighting somebody you figure is almost at good as you, you had better plan on some surprises. If we were to, God forbid, get into a full on tussle with China, I think it would be prudent to expect to lose a number of carriers. Could we carry on if that happened?
We could and would carry on, but it would not be pretty. We have been lucky that our last few opponents have been either really dumb or really over-matched. With the exception of 9-11, we have not been hit hard in any one engagement. Hopefully we can continue this streak!

V/R,

Cliff
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Old 10-19-2010   #38
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One other thing I only learned about last year that may have some bearing. I don't think the vertical launch missile magazines of the carrier escorts can be replenished at sea...
The MK41 VLS comes with a modular crane option allowing reload at sea. Weight is the key though with the heavier weapons unable to replenish.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-20-2010 at 08:39 AM. Reason: Use quote marks
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Old 10-19-2010   #39
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Sorry to go a little off topic here: Considering PRC's current amphibious capabilities and building rate, a plausible invasion is unlikely from my POV for at least the next 10 years. What would an inconclusive air-sea battle with accompanying economic damage, serve for the PRC?

On the other hand, the PRC looks like it is taking a hard stand over territorial disputes with its neighbours (Japan and other SEA countries).
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Old 10-19-2010   #40
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Originally Posted by Maeda Toshiie View Post
Sorry to go a little off topic here: Considering PRC's current amphibious capabilities and building rate, a plausible invasion is unlikely from my POV for at least the next 10 years. What would an inconclusive air-sea battle with accompanying economic damage, serve for the PRC?

On the other hand, the PRC looks like it is taking a hard stand over territorial disputes with its neighbours (Japan and other SEA countries).
From a realist perspective, there's no reason to take on Taiwan. The main scenario I see as plausible is an economic collapse or social unrest in China due to an economic downturn, where the regime needs to focus attention on an outside scapegoat (IE the west). Even then I don't see this as leading to war- but the resulting tensions could potentially lead to war due to a miscalculation.

More likely, IMHO, is a conflict between China and a regional rival that spins out of the leadership's control and results in a small conflict. This becomes more likely to become a larger conflict if the US cannot deter China. If regional powers like South Korea, Singapore, and Japan feel the US cannot deter China, they will be forced to improve their own militaries and possibly obtain nuclear weapons. A regional arms race makes conflict more likely when compared to the US. While we are something of a hegemon in the region militarily, most people (including to a large extent China) trust us to be impartial.

V/R,

Cliff
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